November 2022

Welcome to the Indie Tabletop Newsletter, hear from independent tabletop games designers about their current and upcoming projects. Take a look at the games we’ve already self-published and our upcoming Kickstarters, maybe even get yourself a free print n play game. Learn more about this newsletter here.

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Pledge Manager Open: We’re really stoked, finally, our pledge manager for Castleshire is open (link below). After research, we decided to use Gamefound. While greatly recommended, it took us long to set it up. Gamefound is still in their open beta phase which, in their case, means bugs and missing features, even basic stuff. We couldn’t model some of our (simple) shipping requirements, lists of data cannot be sorted or filtered properly, and there are bugs, some of them serious such as an exchange rate issue that if not found could have cost us thousands of dollars. Their service was offline while writing this newsletter. Being hopeful that this improves over time as the campaigns that run on their platform are great.

Lowered Pledge: We did something rare in the industry: we reduced the cost of a pledge for our second-largest backer group. To date, a quarter of all affected backers chose the cheaper pledge saving them some budget and us manufacturing and shipping costs. Win-win for both sides.

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Mass Manufacturing: We closed our most important milestone to date: On 10 October, the day after Essen’22, we sent all Castleshire print files to the manufacturer and placed our order. Next steps are approving all factory files, then watch the game come to life. 🤩

Print and Play: We have started on the PNP files for Castleshire. We’ll do proper internal testing and a test run with a small crowd from our Kickstarter campaign. If everything goes to plan, the PNP files will be released before the end of November.

Next Up: Work on the Legendary Edition will be continued in November. We’ll finalize the design of the wooden box and insert tray system.

Castleshire Pledge Manager

Festivities – I hope everyone had a fantastic spooky month! Now I’m looking ahead to Christmas and how to get more of my games and gaming accessories in front of people in time to make them beloved Christmas presents. On top of that, I have been making meeple and dice Christmas tree ornaments in the hopes that some gamers may want to showcase their hobby on their tree this year.

I’ve yet to take a very good photo of the ornaments, they’re made with resin and iridescent pigments which means they twinkle beautifully in person. For now, I’ve stuck with gold and silver for the meeple and dice emblems but I’m more than happy to make them in whichever custom colours customers would like.

Malum Hortus – the artwork is back in full swing and hopefully I’ll have the beautiful and evil versions of the foxglove to show soon, which will hopefully kick off a series of art shares that I’ve been planning for the game. To be the first to see them please consider following me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or all three if you’re super keen.

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The Board Game Survival Kit – I realised I can do custom labels for these again, the labels won’t be the same, they’ll be made from a single colour in permanent vinyl, but it means I can hopefully offer custom kits again in time for Christmas. So, if you would like your loved ones name on their kit – e.g. “Nikita Plays Green” (and I do) – please just get in touch.

Atikin Games shop

Hope you had a good Halloween filled with lots of devious game playing, tricks and wicked treats! Our Murderer had a blast (literally) and is now ready to channel those Nightmare Before Christmas vibes and join in the festive fun this season.

For those in the Bristol area, there are quite a few places to get your hands on a game in person (go on, help out your local postie a bit) this festive season – we will be at:
– the Wellsway Christmas market on November 13th
– the Bristol Pop-Up Shop at The Galleries Shopping Centre from November 17th to December 24th
– Flourish Home & Lifestyle Store, Saltford

And I would suggest checking our Instagram in case we add more great markets to get you into those jingle bell vibes. We had a lot of families last Christmas buying Murder on the Cards to play as an easy activity everyone could enjoy in that lull after the Christmas meal.

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Since we’ve ultimately got our Murderer’s best interests in mind at all times, we agree that this is the perfect time to play against him – make sure to eat up, get nice and relaxed and just let your guard down. Just be sure to save The Murderer a mince pie.

We told you – we can’t help but channel Nightmare Before Christmas vibes here at Drop Dead Fun Games… see you amongst the twinkling lights this festive season.

Drop Dead Fun Games website

I’m so excited! This is the second project where my girls, Ainsley and Tavi, have gotten involved! Flamingo represents their absolute love of those pink wading birds.

This flocking game involves a good bit of standing around looking at Flamingoes. Each turn players will have the option to use up to 3 of the dice pulled from the bag. Those dice are used for improving the player’s skills: flocking, feeding, and nesting. Players can also use pink dice for adding Flamingoes and Eggs. Players will also create combos.

The biggest challenge players will face in Flamingo is using their actions carefully. Players only have 35 actions for the entire game. It is possible to grab 3 dice each turn, but the player runs the risk of letting their opponents maximize their play instead of just rushing ahead. Players will also find that their skills as conservationists act as multipliers for the Flamingoes they have attracted and the nests that have been built.

In all the game comes down to logic. Can players effectively place their dice and get the =, <, or > in the right spots for those combos and multiples?

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I enjoy the puzzly nature of Flamingo and my girls have had a lot of fun picking on me while we play together. I will say having two 4 year olds gang up on you while playing is a very silly time.

I look forward to seeing you all when we launch on November 1!

Kickstarter link!

We’re about to enter the crunch of FlickFleet: Xeno Wars Gamefound fulfilment. It was our biggest and best crowdfunding campaign (our fifth in a row!) and we have a lot of stuff to make and send. Paul makes all the games on a laser-cutter in his garage, so there’s a huge amount of work coming his way shortly. We’ve now got almost all the stuff we need for fulfilment – just a couple of outstanding incoming orders for doing the more complex outgoing orders! In the meantime, we’re working on getting a more attractive and better featured website to support orders between crowdfunding campaigns. Our current website is five years old and entirely written in HTML and CSS by me. It’s more than a bit rubbish – the shopping experience in particular. Hopefully by the time the next one of these newsletters comes out the new website will be live – just in time for Christmas! In the meantime, if you’re desparate for some FlickFleet goodness, with or without the first expansion, we have some stock available while we fulfil the campaign.

Buy FlickFleet!

I’ve mentioned one of my upcoming games a few times, Top Tale: Tall Tale, and I’d like to dedicate this month’s content to going into much more detail about it. Top Tale: Tall Tale (might be Volumes 1, 2, etc) is the first spin-off series in the Top Tale franchise. All of the games I ever release under the Top Tale brand will be playable together, but with the Tall Tale theme, players take on a player persona for all of their story telling. The concept is fairly simple, you are encouraged to make up the stories and perhaps stretch the truth, in turn, telling a tall tale.

For Tacticon 2022, I had finalized a prototype of Top Tale: Tall Tale, but I didn’t actually get a chance to play it at the conference (more on that later). However, I met an artist at the conference who I think has the perfect art style for Top Tale: Tall Tale. Her name is Steph and she is the artist behind Tipsy Druid Studio (, and she’s based out of Colorado, which makes in-person collaboration more possible.

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Steph’s whimsical artwork is full of imagination, and reminds me of childhood stories like, “Where the Wild Things Are”, which is exactly the kind of vibe I’m going for with Tall Tale.

Associated with this post is the first commissioned artwork from Steph, which is one of the player persona card images. For each player persona card, I intend to make the card a tarot-sized card to stand out from the standard topic cards. On each card there will be five player persona elements: Character, Ability, Item, Sidekick, and Setting. These five elements (or as many as possible) will be illustrated on the opposite side of the player persona card. This is meant to inspire the details in each story. In the example image, the five elements are: “tribal bear” (to avoid trademark infringement), fidgeting (although it’s not able to be illustrated well, and I will likely end up changing the ability for this particular card), blowgun, warthog, and forest.

Aside from finding the artist for Tall Tale, I recently had a chance to do a full play-through of Top Tale: Tall Tale. To my surprise, the first full play test was a huge success. Frankly I didn’t know how well it would work and had just conceptually thought through how a game would go and I expected it to be very similar to flow experienced in The Original Game series. What really came out in the play test, was that the first round was the hardest to come up with a story, but each round was easier than the last. This is in part because players ended up building upon each previous story. That is what made the game especially hilarious. Players would really embrace their player persona and build their character’s story along the way. As expected, it will be a really handy tool for character building for D&D or creative works in general. It was an amazing start!

So, I’m now even more excited to work on Top Tale: Tall Tale, and I really hope to have enough time to develop it to where I can print reviewer decks early next year. I’m in the middle of moving, renovating my current house, and getting my current house ready to rent, so “spare” time is short these days. I may not have all the artwork commissioned for those reviewer decks, but I hope to have enough to give a really good idea of what the full game will be. I have been planning to deliver roughly 30 player persona cards in the finished game, and you can imagine how much time and money it will take to create all the paintings, as well as the instructions and box artwork. It’s going to be an awesome game, and potentially it will be what really accelerates the Top Tale series.

Yub Nub Games homepage

Well, it had to happen sometime, after five successful Kickstarters in a row Song of Tales sadly failed to make it over the line. We’re clearly disappointed, after a lot of development and really great receptions at conventions we were expecting a lot more for Song of Tales, but it was a very unconventional game and ultimately that really reduced its audience. However, I really love the game itself and I’m not willing to just let it die, so we’ve got some contingency plans to get it out into the world. We’ll be launching a GameCrafter print on demand version and may well run a crowd sale version with them, in the mean time we’ll be re-tooling the game to allow us to put it out as a smaller tuck box version. The hope is that the lower unit price will bring in people who might have been uncertain about a storytelling game.

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Meanwhile, we have plenty going on, we’re just back from the excellent KCon convention in Milton Keynes and next month we’re off to the excellent UnCon in Sandwich, Kent. We’re getting ready for the launch of our next Kickstarter for three brand new SSO expansion decks and following that our tabletop miniatures game Boarders and Black Flags.

Our website

Happy Halloween all! With an Essen visit and the Zuuli Mini expansion running through the start of October it’s been a fairly busy month here at Unfringed.

Most excitingly, our amazing Zuuli fans helped the Mini expansion reach a whopping 220% of our funding goal! Thank you to everyone that backed, shared and supported me throughout and I can’t wait to get the big ball of fluff Red Panda and the fierce and friendly Hippo to everyone. I worked with the fantastic Ivory Graphics again to get these printed and once this newsletter goes live I should have already received all of the produced copies! A slight frustration of Gamefound is that you can’t open the Pledge Manager for at least 4 weeks after the campaign finishes so we will be stuck in limbo for a week or so before I can start collecting shipping and addresses. But with November looking quite postal strike heavy I’ll be glad to have ticked off this part of fulfilment.

With respect to Essen, this was my first time ever visiting and what an amazing, if not a little overwhelming, experience.

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I may pop a proper post together outlining my full experience but my personal highlights were playing (and purchasing) Coral & Mind bug, alongside meeting a bunch of incredibly talented designers and publishers.

The 2nd edition of Zuuli is also ticking along nicely so stay tuned on social media to hear when you can grab your very own copy, which will include all of the new cards from the Mini expansion!

That’s all for now so I hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween!

Official Zuuli website

State of Mind Games is a small indie studio in Canberra Australia. Their main focus currently is in teaching aspiring game designers but in their down time they like working on small, light, strategy games that play in under 30-minutes.

At the moment they are taking a break from some older designs to focus on 2 with environmental themes based on issues affecting Australia, namely the impact of feral animals on our native animals (working title: “Threatened!”) & another about trying to reconcile competing land use between conservancy, residential, & mining (working title: “It’s all Mine!”).

“Threatened!” is a 2-player set collection game with strategic movement around a research area (the game space) where players are researchers collecting data (sets) on native animals found there while trying to remove feral animals they capture. Played over 3 rounds, representing a 3 year funded research project, players will end each round by manipulating the play area based on the feral animals remaining. New cards are drafted into the research area, representing new animals moving in to fill ecological gaps, & the players then start collecting their samples to see what changes may have occurred.

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“It’s all Mine!” is a 2-4 player tile laying game with a drafting mechanic that all players have commented on & asymmetric scoring for each ‘faction’. Players are either trying to maximise conservation areas, residential estates, or open cut mines as they place cards that must overlap existing cards while following the overlap hierarchy that dictates what is allowed to move into (overlap) existing areas. Players must play semi-cooperatively to prevent a run-away winner but also leave themselves options to pull the win out of the bag with strategic placement.

Both games are available for testing on tabletop simulator & anyone interested in trying them is invited to contact me at the email address below.

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